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Public Affairs Insights from the Centre

5 Dec 2008

Reconsidering corporate decision-making

George Onisiforou

A few nights ago at the Lowy Institute, the former Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Ian Macfarlane, attributed the current economic crisis on financial executives pursuing short-term economic gains and ignoring risks for the benefit of their bonuses.

There's no doubt that the crisis brings forward the need to reconsider corporate decision-making, not only in financial terms, but especially in understanding and including a broad range of stakes and environments in any decision-making process, for the sake of a business' long term sustainability.

This is not a new concept, and is actually the premise of best practice public affairs and probably what public affairs practitioners advocate for in their own companies. But even though this is an understood concept it can still be ignored by top management and lead to serious consequences.

If this can be changed depends not only on the individuals that make decisions but also on the actual process of decision-making, and this is an area in which corporate public affairs can make a significant contribution.

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